Bay Area hair salons reaching out to communities for support during the pandemic

Annie Miller is the owner of Salon 77 West in Danville. Her business has been closed for almost a full 5 months – only briefly reopened before Contra Costa County was put on the state’s COVID-19 watch list.

“We were open for 3 weeks at our Danville location hoping to make some headway,” said Miller. “And then to close 3 weeks later, it was almost more trouble than it was worth.”

Miller says they owe several months of back rent, and 90 stylists depend on her for a place to do their work, when it’s allowed. This week, she felt the need to reach out the community. Miller said, “We do need help form our community. It is time.”

She texted clients where she shared a GoFundMe page, and recorded a YouTube addressing the status of her salon.

“Your stylists are your friends, your therapists, and your style guides. And they need a space to be able to continue their career when this is all said and done,” she said in the YouTube video.

Many small business are crowdfunding during the pandemic. It’s a way to help make rent, pay employees, and for some, make safety improvements.

At Honey and Comb Salon in Walnut Creek, owners say they have spent thousands of dollars to prepare the salon for reopening. “We did spend a lot of our time building these Plexiglas shields in between every single stylist station,” said co-owner Kelcie Peterson.

They had Plexiglas shields built between stylist stations and in front of the reception desk. Stations are spread 6 feet apart, and they cut capacity in the shampoo room in half.

The salon also sent out a text blast to their client list, directing them to a GoFundMe page, something Peterson called a humbling experience

“The community has been very generous and very supportive in this time but getting the word out there is the hardest part,” she said. “We don’t hope to close but if this continues on for an unprecedented amount of time we don’t know how long we can hold up.”